This Week: Come to my Baltimore meetup – in partnership with Brendan Gahan and Avi Gandhi on Sept 27 – RSVP here. Also, my most meta headline ever tops the QUIBI section. It’s the second week of September 2023 and here’s what you need to know.
Mr. Beast Pumped a New ESports League. It Didn’t Go Well: A flashy new league, anchored by top creators including Bella Porch, Clix, Vinnie Hacker and CDawgVA — and promoted by Mr. Beast — imploded when its secret crypto underpinnings were revealed. Turns out fans were enticed to purchase $20 community passes, which were secretly tracked on a blockchain and sounded like NFTs. Nothing wrong with that in theory – but the subsequent uproar caused many creators to abandon ship. So many lessons. First, crypto, blockchain and NFTs are still toxic to many creators and fans. Second, if you’re building on Web3 tech, don’t obfuscate. Disclose early and often. NFTs offer great promise for the creator economy, argues Peter Csathy, but clearly much work needs to be done. I wonder how much money “Creator League” parent company eFuse just lost? Investors Seth Curry and Ezekiel Elliot can’t be happy.
Media’s Jurassic Age is Over: If you are reading this newsletter, you probably know this, but media cartographer Evan Shapiro’s latest map makes it abundantly clear: the Dinosaurs are doomed. Eshap charts revenue and audience for today’s global media ecosystem, starkly depicting how traditional TV has already lost to online video. There’s no going back. This is good news for creators, as more doors opens up as gatekeepers fade away. Adjust your worldview and your financial models accordingly. RELATED: Interesting LA Times story on film-school graduates opting for the creator economy over traditional media.
Spotify’s Big Podcast Bet Failing: With more than a billion dollars spent, Spotify has shockingly little to show for that investment. Reported by the WSJ ($), and summarized by the Daily Mail, those high-profile bets on Kardashians, Obamas and Prince Harry just haven’t paid off. It reminds me of YouTube’s “Original Channel” program, a $200M bet on mostly non digital stars with disastrous results. Ironically the WSJ’s analysis is best digested on Gimlet – one of Spotify’s $230M whiffs. Podcasts remain strong for creators, but mostly as part of a balanced mix of formats with incentives aligned on performance, not glitz.
Private Communities Accelerate: Last week’s jibe at the Insider’s “Social Media Is Dead ($)” story only lightly touched on their second theme: the rise of private communities. But the growing trend was accelerated last week by Clubhouse, TikTok, Instagram and Patreon.
- Patreon: Its new “Community Chats” are similar but far simpler than Discord and promise a safe space for creators and their community to connect. Patreon’s smart move adds additional benefits to both creators and patrons.
- TikTok: Hiring teams to build social and private messaging features.
- Instagram: Now widely testing private posting to your “close friends” list.
- Clubhouse: The pandemic darling pivoted from open audio spaces to private voice only group chats – it had to do something.
- Discord: No news, but I still don’t understand why they abandoned creators. Clearly the competition is leaning in.
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- QUIBI Finally Dead. Mostly.
- It’s a conversation not a megaphone: Fascinating research from YouTube on how viewers influence the content they watch – and the power shift from gatekeepers to community. Also, the Ikea effect.
- New limits to the types of ads creators can select. This should help with monetization but reduces control over the pre-roll experience.
- The open mouth is dead. Mr Beast’s team sees strong early returns from YouTube’s A/B thumbnail testing tool.
- Mobile games are coming to YouTube – will they recycle the Google Doodle games of yore?
- The 500-Pound Gorilla Problem: YouTube and Google continue to deflect Adalytics findings of fake ad placements – plus new concerns over first-party co-viewing data.
- YouTube adds comments to Music’s “now playing” screen. What could possibly go wrong.
- Yay! The bylines are back on the YouTube blog.
- No one is going to pay for ad-free versions of Instagram and Facebook.
- Instagram appears to be shadowbanning sex educators and LGBTQ accounts.
- New Meta guide encourages advertisers to embrace AI when their planning holiday spend.
- TikTok releases first quarterly safety report in response to EU’s Digital Services Act.
- First EU data center opens in Ireland.
- Inside the African trend towards banning TikTok.
- How students are subverting academic TikTok bans in the US.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- Stripe says it paid $25B to creators, and sees no decline in the creator economy’s torrid growth.
- Related – a thoughtful post on the resiliency of creators.
- Congrats to Rex Woodbury (Digital Native author) as he launches a new VC Firm.
- UK promises massive fines for social media platforms that serve to 2–12-year-olds. We need this in the US.
- Snapchat adds new teen-safety features and cracks down on inappropriate content.
- What the changes in the “Top 100 YouTube Channels” list means for the creator economy.
- Why B2B marketing is the next big frontier for the creator economy to conquer.
- Influencer marketing and greenwashing – a match definitely NOT made in heaven.
- Roblox sets 2024 priorities.
- Marketing 101: The evolution of short-form brand/creator partnerships.
- Slave to the Traffic Light – I’m enjoying TikTok’s Traffic Light Doctor.
- Insightful post from VC Ben Evans exploring the generative AI copyright issues.
- Is the world really ready for Draper Nation?
- A step in the right direction – new tool hopes to detect cultural bias in AI.
- Artists come together to praise AI, not bury it.
- Pro tips for optimizing TikTok Shops without annoying viewers.
- Ed Lawerence (aka Film Booth) explains why building a continual loop of your back-catalog videos is the easiest way to get views ever.
- Super helpful PDF explains how to work with AI tools and craft great prompts.
- Get Juice launches “Pulse” – a hub for creator business and financial advice.
Thanks for reading and see you around the internet. Send me a note with your feedback, or post in the comments! Feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested, and if someone forwarded this to you, you can sign up and subscribe on LinkedIn for free here!
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